For Better, For Worse

For Better, For Worse

Who: Aerishani, O’rlen, Zinovia, Akemi, C’aol, Nala, Aislara, Rori, Arlet, Amorenth, Roreliuith, Daeserath, Yukijiath, Inaskashath, Akanyth
When: Month 6, 202 AT
Where: Honshu Weyrhold
What: The Gather for Aerishani and O’rlen’s wedding ends in disaster.

Honshu Weyrhold’s first Gather does not boast the most ideal timing as far as seasons go, with the winter grasp on the Weyrhold has blanketed in fresh snow after a solid week of ice storms. The Headwoman and Steward have fussed and stressed, prepped and planned, doing their best to organize the Weyrhold to host it’s festivities in shelter. Large tents have been erected within the Weyr’s central area and outside – warmed by the tech craft’s propane heaters. The day has broken and the sun miraculously is out, something that is noted with enthusiasm by the residents and riders of the Weyrhold. Trader’s and shopkeepers have come out to set up stalls within the tents, keeping their goods out of the winter chill. A call to the Bakercraft has also brought journeymen and masters from the North to celebrate with the southern Weyrhold, their goods on display and adding winter spices and sweet aromas to the food tents. In a rare show of solidarity, most of the major Weyrs have presence at the Weyrhold, even Fort’s leadership has come.

Inside their quarters, O’rlen finishes the final touches of his wardrobe with the weaver who has come to ensure his suit fits him properly. His suit is an acknowledgement of his autumnal colored bronze, russet hues and golds accented the three-piece suit. His hair has been combed back and curls contained with water and a sticky substance being used by rider’s of Honshu called ‘gel’. Roreliuth has taken up a very prominent perch on the outskirts of the Weyrhold, his eyes a happy swirl of blue as he watches the comings of various dragons and people in wagon’s. He reaches for Amorenth, his touch laced with the warmth of a warm autumn day. << It is a time to celebrate, is it not, my queen? >> He bugles a welcome to Telgar’s bronze and gold dragons as they appear in the air above him from Between. << Now all can see the wealth of Honshu and it’s people and dragons. >>

It must be a conscious decision that Aerishani has not let herself be seen in the vicinity of Fort’s Weyrleaders, nor in the vicinity of anyone but those friends who have played host to her for the night and kept her from O’rlen’s gaze, waking to assist her with her hair and dress and fuss over her much more than she’s accustomed to. There’s no hiding that she’s no maid of a bride, what with it plain to all by now that she’s expecting, and so she’s shucked both Pernese tradition and more Ancient ones to wear a gown of rose and golds that call to mind Amorenth’s hide and subtly match some of the tones in O’rlen’s own attire. Against the chill, she has a cloak of white fur that must be the most extravagant thing she’s ever purchased for herself, though she’s as yet refused to draw up the hood and risk mussing the crown of curls someone has meticulously tamed her red-tinted waves into. Amorenth has taken up her usual eerie stillness and observes the goings on from her ledge, keen gaze roaming between dragon arrivals that she leaves her mate to greet, hers a more distant evaluation. << They will be respectful or pay the price, >> is less warning than fact, silver flickering to keep out the mental touches of those who try to intrude, even with mere pleasantries. << She is ready, if he is. I can see the Harper man waiting in the dance square. >>

Amorenth may keep those mental touches of the foreign dragons out, Roreliuth takes them in stride, and their young golden daughter absolutely delights in the admiration of //new// friends. It takes more than a few reminders from her rider to tamper down her enthusiasm, but her glowing pride for the festivities of the Weyrhold radiates from her like a ripple of bright sunshine on a clear, near-frozen, pond. With the Weyrlingmaster’s prepared to tend to the weyrlings, and C’aol taking over for the next two weeks as Acting Weyrlord, O’rlen has made it clear he means to focus solely on this day and his wife. He takes the signal from his bronze and makes his way out of their home and out towards the dance square. He has more than a few hands to shake and words to share with those who greet him as he passes. His smile is large enough he may complain of his cheeks hurting later as he is all but bursting with pride. He turns to wait expectantly looking down the aisle that has been shoveled clear of snow to indicate where his bride-to-be will walk down. As he waits, the attending people of rank – Lords and Lady’s, Weyrleader’s and Weyrwomen, gather in the chairs set aside for them. The rest of those who want to bare witness to the ceremony (and from the packed in crowd, there are many) will make do with standing and trying to peer around the bulk of bodies to get the best look. Firelizards flit to and fro, trying to capture more of the scene unfolding for their owners.

Zinovia may now be a Lady, but she’s not been brought up to be one of //those// Ladies and may never be, for she’s not taken one of the chairs and only adopts a standing spot close to them, the knot at her shoulder a strange hybrid of Lady Holder and standard wingrider, shot through with green for Yukijiath. She’s near enough to that aisle that she gets a good view of Aerishani when she appears, the Weyrlady’s own firelizard swooping through graceful loops in the skies above her, Arsinoe less of a nuisance than some floating golden ribbon. Only when she sets eyes on O’rlen do some of Aerishani’s nerves seem to ease. Harper and Weyrlady though she is, there’s looking at her for craft and duty and there’s looking at her – and judging her – for who she is. Her lips quirk in a soft smile as she slowly makes her way towards him, keeping her gaze fixed on her future husband for the entirety of her journey down the aisle. It makes both the Harper officiating and Zinovia smile too, while Phoenix launches herself into the air to join Arsinoe in her looping. Once she reaches O’rlen, Aerishani undoes the clasp of her cloak and casts the fur aside onto the dance square at her feet, daring him to chide her about the cold with the quirk of a brow. He’s going to see her in her dress even if she has to bear some of the freezing chill to make it happen.

Akemi’s relief at Zinovia’s selection of placement is concealed behind her usual mask, her features betraying none of the thoughts that make their way through the bluerider’s head. She reaches for Zinovia’s hand as Aerishani passes, leaning closer to whisper into her mate’s ear, “You’d look even more stunning in such a dress.” She’s not the sort to give public displays of affection, the hand she squeezes gently signal enough of her love for the greenrider. C’aol is noticeably upfront and positioned beside his younger brother, his face a stony mask in contrast to Lord Zaivar’s bright smile for the resplendent Aerishani as she moves past them and up towards O’rlen. “Perhaps you could marry the Lady Silverfield, brother?” he murmurs to the bronzerider before his wife shushes him. O’rlen steps forward, unabashedly smiling as tears of joy trickle down his cheeks. “You’re beautiful,” he murmurs, drawing Aerishani up on the dais by bother hands. The Harper draws everyone’s attention, beginning to recite the words of law and love for all those gathered to hear. Aislara’s already allowed herself two glasses of the sparkling wine, letting their assistants be prepared to handle anything that may arise for the day of celebration. The greenrider tucks her head on Nala’s shoulder and watches as their Weyrlord begins to recite his vows to Aerishani, guided by the Harper’s words. It’s much like the language of vows for a Lord and Lady, with some additions that leave out talk of property and progeny.

Though she does her best to conceal it, a soft murmur of laughter escapes Zinovia, the sound low enough that surely only Akemi can hear her as she tightens her hold on her hand in response. “But then, you are terribly biased,” she gently teases, sliding her fingers to thread them through hers. “And terribly beautiful too.” She turns her head the tiniest bit to touch her lips to the bluerider’s shoulder before giving the bride and groom what they’re due of her attention. There’s no mistaking another bluerider’s gesture for anything but protective and possessive as Nala winds her arms around Aislara’s waist and holds on, more content to watch her than the proceedings before them. Aerishani firmly holds both of O’rlen’s hands with hers as she steps up and steadies herself, then lets one soothe its way up to his elbow as he speaks, her smile flickering brighter in a manner that somehow still manages to make her appear demure before the sea of eyes that observe them. When it’s her turn to deliver her vows, she faithfully follows the Harper’s words, though deviates the slightest bit when she finds herself unable to resist telling her almost-husband, “And I love you,” once she’s through. She glances down to acknowledge the bump peeking from beneath the loose corset ties of her dress. “We love you.”

O’rlen cannot resist drawing Aerishani into his arms once she’s acknowledged his future family. His grip is firm and strong as he molds her so comfortably against his chest and kisses her for all those gathered to see. The Harper makes some joke about not waiting for his proclamation, which O’rlen promptly ignores as he deepens his kiss. He lifts his hands to capture Aerishani’s face gently between his calloused palms, his world centering on the depth of her eyes. “You’ve made me the happiest man on Pern. My mate, my wife, mother of my children,” he kisses her eyelids and her lips once more before he turns, drawing her to his side as he beams out at all those gathered. C’aol claps half-heartedly as O’rlen takes his wife down the aisle and towards the tent specifically setup for their dancing. His eyes make their way through the crowd and latch on to the form of Zinovia and the bluerider at her side. The roar of Daeserath is drowned out by the bellow from Roreliuth’s triumph. The bronze takes to the skies, letting the winter sun radiate along his hide as he swoops low over the tents and then moves to join his mate on their ledge. << I hope we can hear the Harper’s play from here. I love the music even if I can’t see them dancing. >> O’rlen navigates through the well-wishers to take Aerishani into the tent, following the command of his Steward as they are directed to the main table in the front of the tent. “We’ll receive our guests after everyone has eaten,” he tells the man, pulling a chair out for Aerishani. “And no sooner.” The Steward gives a bow to the Weyrlord and descends to clap and gather his staff around him to execute the seating of their guests and the delivery of food and drinks. O’rlen keeps an arm about Aerishani’s shoulders. “And are you well, my love?”

It must be a mere matter of coincidence when Zinovia chooses to claim a proper kiss from Akemi as the crowd mills around them to relocate, the Lady Holder oblivious to Daeserath’s roar and C’aol’s gaze both. It’s when she catches another Lady Holder staring at the two of them that she gives a sweet smile and drops a half-teasing curtsey, turning on her heel to tug Akemi after her. Whether the tone of the day has managed to break through her armour or she’s just feeling possessive with so many other golds in the vicinity, Amorenth for once curls herself in against Roreliuth’s side for all to see, for all that she keeps her guard up. << There are enough of them that the problem would be not hearing, >> she answers dryly, settling her head down atop her paws. Across the way, her rider sits herself down in the offered chair, casting her fur across its back before leaning into O’rlen for a moment. “Of course,” she promises, reaching up to tug him down for another kiss. “I have you. Though you might have to steal me away into the night sooner than anyone is anticipating. Your children are determined to exhaust me before I’m ready, it seems.” But still, she’s bright enough now, any weariness kept at bay while she looks up at him. “Not before we’ve danced, though.”

Roreliuth adds his own guard over Amorenth as he drapes a possessive wing over her golden hide. He tucks himself about her and keeps his eyes alert to sky and ground both. << I can always ask O’rlen to let me listen or we can send one of the little firelizards in so we can hear through them >> the bronze muses, contentment rolling through him as his shadows drape across the Weyrhold. Inaskashath’s excitement is a pop-fizz of colors in the sky, fireworks jumping back and forth as she makes her way through the snow towards the tent that Rori has promised music will come from. She’s not as small as she once was, so her presence is not hidden from those that move through the crowd and enter the main tent. Rori lingers at the doorway, torn between joining in on the festivities and keeping an eye on her gold. Inside, Aislara settles in to a chair beside Nala and smiles at their tablemates. The Steward may have been trying to keep things civil when he placed the Weyrlingmaster’s at the same table as Lady Silverfield and Akemi, but he did not anticipate that C’aol would decide against the table with Riel to join the one where the bluerider and greenriders are at. He makes no comment as he slides into a chair and pours himself a glass of wine from the skin on the table. O’rlen’s laughter booms out over the crowd as he kisses his wife more than once, trying to allow himself time to laugh and kiss her, and failing enough to make his laughter louder. “I’m far too happy,” he declares, reaching for a glass of wine as it’s passed his way by a serving boy. “I’ll make sure we dance until your feet ache. And when they ache, I’ll carry you home and rub them, before,” he tips forward to whisper in Aerishani’s ear as he looks out at the crowd settling in to their tables and chairs, “I rub the rest of you.”

Zinovia manages to do a good job of ignoring C’aol completely, the bronzerider only acknowledged with a passing glance from dark eyes drawn in his direction more for mere motion than who he is, her focus on Akemi and the goings-on around them as she pours a lighter, bubbly wine from an elaborate bottle into first the bluerider’s glass, then her own, before offering said bottle to Aislara. Across the way, Aerishani snags a grip on O’rlen’s collar with hand and murmurs, “I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to say that sort of thing in-front of people, where I can’t do anything about it,” against his neck under the guise of whispering some response back to him. As far as anyone else is concerned, she simply smiles, yet her teeth find skin and she nips just as she unhands his collar and sits back oh so innocently in her seat. From the opposite end of Honshu’s bowl, Akanyth observes the closeness of his dam and sire and yet demonstrates no interest in moving closer to any of the festivities that they watch, Arlet kept snug and safe between his forearms. If Amorenth notices how their son watches them, she lets on not a bit, tucking her paws in tight to keep as much of her as possible beneath Roreliuth’s wing. << We should go down there, later, >> she decides. << Remind them all that Honshu is ours. >> And listen to the music.

Akemi does not do as great of a job in ignoring C’aol’s presence at the table. Her posture stiffens as her lips tighten into a thin line. Zinovia distracts her with the pouring of wine, her hand lifts to capture it and she murmurs her thanks to her before she takes a fair amount in quick successive sips. She reaches a hand up to pat absently at her braids, checking to see if the ribbons she had braided in are still in place – the colors of Silverfield on display for all to see where her allegiances lie. Aislara accepts the bottle and turns to pour Nala and herself a glass, her gaze lifting to look out at the rest of the crowd moving to their seats. “Looks like most of the people dining in the tent are people of note. Did you see the Fortian Weyrleaders?” she comments to the table in general, flashing a smile as she lifts her wine to her lips. “I didn’t think they’d attend,” she continues, blinking for a moment at C’aol’s scowl before she furrows her brows and leans towards Nala. “Is he always so grouchy?” she asks. She sets her wine glass down, noticing how much she’s had on an empty stomach. She blushes and leans back in her chair. O’rlen’s fingers move to tighten along Aerishani’s thigh, his retort silenced by the arrival of the first course. The meal comes out in quick succession – appetizers, warm soups to chase the cold, fresh bread and three types of meat for the main course. O’rlen polishes it all off with gusto, making sly comments now and then to Aerishani as he watches the tent move around them. “What do you make of C’aol sitting where he is?” he muses, on his third cup of wine and showing it without care. “Trying to make amends?” Roreliuth’s shadows brighten towards purple, the swirls of his mind delighting in Amorenth’s decision. << That would make me very happy my dear. And it will be good to show our daughter how to quietly make her presence known. >>

Zinovia lifts her own glass to take a single sip, carefully placing it back down before turning to idly run the tail of one of Akemi’s braids between her fingertips, smile touching one corner of her lips. “If any other Lady tries to steal you away, just show her these,” she murmurs warmly, C’aol kept firmly from her line of vision. Her focus darts to Nala for a moment as the bluerider drawls, “Probably here to check up on anyone who has fled from them,” of the Fortian Weyrleaders. “Everyone ought to watch themselves. I would not put harming anyone beyond the realms of their reach.” Nala drapes an arm across the back of Aislara’s chair, angling a long look at C’aol. “I think he’s just accustomed to being objectionable and lonely,” she tells her weyrmate, just loud enough for him to hear. Aerishani may be absolutely sober owing to her present condition, but at least it keeps her looking the bright and put together bride, small bites taken of each course without absolutely clearing her plate. “I think he’s more likely looking to antagonise either Lady Silverfield or her own Lady,” she utters lowly. “Which is entirely counterproductive for everyone involved, but then, that seems to be his way. It’s easy enough for her to find another to sire her children, even in breach of her contract. For him? Maybe pride before a fall.”

Akemi shakes her head at Zinovia’s statement, leaning towards her as she settles back in her seat. “I’m not to be stolen, traded, or sold,” she //might// be teasing, despite Aislara’s started look in the bluerider’s direction. Akemi’s eyes move to look at those Fortian leaders and the riders that have grouped themselves together at one table. “Would they dare to do it today?” she questions, looking at Nala and then focusing her steely gaze on C’aol. “You’re Honshu’s Weyrsecond. What are you anticipating?” She’s not scared of him, not one bit, and the adrenaline surge of speaking directly to him draws a twitch of a smile to her lips. C’aol does not respond to Akemi or Nala as he reaches to grab himself more wine and then returns to the plate of food that had recently been delivered. He takes his time with cutting his portions and eating slowly, knowing his silence might provoke those around him. He lifts his gaze and directs his attention to Nala – whose words have the largest bite in his direction. The bronzerider raises his attention to Nala, looking around at all the females paired together with a droll smile, his eyes remaining dark. “Such lovely couples at my table tonight,” He finishes another bite of food and then adds, to Aislara, “Fort has promised to behave. They still want their games. This is a show of faith on our part.” O’rlen begins to drink something less intoxicating as he relaxes back and pulls Aerishani closer to him. “Can’t figure him out, not at all. He’s disciplined and does good work. Rider’s respect him. Riel thinks highly of him. So why can’t he be more consistent? No one can trust him.” A sigh and then he notices the entrance of the tent. “Looks like the Harper’s are coming in and we’ll finally be able to dance.” As the commotion of tables moving and people preparing to dance and be entertained takes over the tent, no one may notice that the Fortian rider’s who came with their Weyrleaders slip out and do not return.

“What you have to remember about Fort is that if you don’t fit nicely into one of their little boxes, they’re unlikely to care one bit about you unless you can be useful to them,” Nala remarks to absolutely no-one in particular. “There are some exceptions, of course. But the tighter their leaders hold their grip, the fewer there are.” She lifts her glass to her lips and takes a long, slow drink. “Still, maybe there are riders here who would be more suited to that kind of atmosphere.” She doesn’t bother trying to hide from a soul that she fixes her gaze on C’aol as she speaks. Meanwhile, Aerishani curls herself in at O’rlen’s side and rests her head on his shoulder. “The way he spoke to me before Amorenth rose the first time… I wish Riel didn’t spend so much time with him.” It could be that she actually shudders, though perhaps she only idly rearranges her skirts. She notices not a thing, and, for the moment, nor does Amorenth, too content at their respective mates’ sides. “Come on,” she encourages, getting to her feet and tugging O’rlen after her. “We ought to set a good example.” And it turns out that she can. She may have had no real opportunity or reason to share with Honshu that her Harper skills are not of the legal and administrative type, but it becomes plain enough when she dances, hardly leaving her husband’s side unless the steps of the dance require it.

The Harper’s keep the music changing throughout the evening, drawing an ever flowing crowd of participants on the dance floor. Notable singers have attended from the North, lending to the theme of bridging gaps between North and South. To those in C’aol’s circle, it only further fuels the resentments that have continued to fester with Aerishani and O’rlen as their liberal leaders. “In the past, the Harper Hall didn’t attend anything,” one bluerider grouses to C’aol, “and now, they come out to show off? Are we so wealthy at Honshu now that we can pay all these Crafters?” C’aol’s reply is lost in the music. It’s near the end of the evening and O’rlen has escorted Aerishani out for one last dance before the growing fatigue claims them both. He’s got his hands on her hips and is slowly swaying to the music, his forehead pressed to hers, a private smile shared between him and his wife. There’s a murmur that begins to filter through the remaining attendees. “Do you smell that?” Aislara asks Nala, setting down her fork full of cake to sniff the air and look around in confusion. “Rotten eggs?” she furrows her brows and watches as others begin to smell the distinct sulfur tange. There is no chance to connect the smell with anything – a loud boom resounds outside and dragon’s roar as they take to the skies. Inaskashath is thrown into an absolute, blind, panic as she witnesses the explosion of the observatory first hand. Her shrieks are both physical and mental – her limited control shredded as fear grips her and she plummets the rest of the Weyrhold with her. << Fire! >> Roreliuth calls, rousing to the skies to follow those of his Weyr who have taken to them. Before anyone can take in the explosion of the observatory, another explosion rocks a distant field, and destroys one of the granaries. O’rlen’s got his hand on Aerishani and is tugging her through the chaos of people fleeing the tent. He bumps into Lady Silverfield and Akemi. “Seek shelter,” he tells them both, “and stay at Honshu. I’ll need you.”

<< Come here, >> Amorenth commands of Inaskashath, throwing the weight of her position as senior queen and dam behind her words. << Bring your rider. Go inside. >> To the place where //she// usually sleeps with her mate and has let none but him and their riders stray too close to. << //Now//. >> There’s no time for her to go and get her, but from how she stands upon her ledge, ready to launch herself forth, maybe that’s her intended next step, regardless. Before she might need to resort to such measures, she flings her influence outwards, ensnaring all colours and lesser queens than she when she insists, << None may leave, >> with only the barest hint of the fire and chaos and fury that dwells beneath her cool, silver-touched exterior. The bronzes struggle for the briefest time, especially those of Fortian origin, while at least one golden hide manages to escape and blink into Between, leaving younger and more junior queens to Amorenth’s mercies. << You who have deceived us will pay with pain, >> she promises, needing no more than the threat before she leaps down the short distance to the bowl to seek out her rider and the other lives she carries and it ultimately responsible for – to her mind. Aerishani may well not be so willing to go where O’rlen wants, telling him, “I have to go – I have to go and see if anyone—“ Is dead? Is gone? No dragons have keened. Yet. “I have to get to the obserat—“ She’s interrupted by a simple, << No, >> when Amorenth finds them and arches her wings high to threaten any in the vicinity. << You stay with me. Now. >> Though she may be able to fight against O’rlen, there’s no doing battle with a queen so many times her size, yet immediately, she has an argument. “The infirmary, then.” At least it’s where she’ll need to be, if anything happens to her or the babies. There’s something of Yukijiath that cannot help but delight in the smoke and smog and burning and suffering, the rampant destruction setting loose what she cannot control and sparking the first ever hints of a glow along her hide. << Beautiful… >> she remarks, only to turn into the mouth of one of the ground-level guest weyrs and subtly start to mentally tug her rider towards her.

Those dragons that had taken to the sky return – there is no denying the will of a queen and Amorenth has always been stronger than her peers, which leads to the grounding of those junior queens. Chaos erupts all over as people scatter – O’rlen kisses Aerishani and leaves her beside Amorenth, knowing his wife will be safer with her gold. “Stay with her. Help her contain the chaos. I love you, be safe.” He doesn’t say anything more, lost to the thought of getting to the observatory. He grabs C’aol by the arm as the bronzerider draws near, “Go and see what the damage is to the grainary.” C’aol does nothing but nod his head and bark orders to dragonriders within earshot. He organizes a party to go and begin the process of putting out the distant fires before the blazes spread into the field. O’rlen calls more to him, directing energy to the cause around them. It feels like hours before the chaos is focused, but it takes no more than a half hour to systemically form a line of people to haul buckets of water up to douse the flames. Dragons, when permitted by Amorenth, are directed to draw water into larger canvases to move and dump over the flames. Thankfully, the amount of effort put in, has the fire contained. As the pink of the sunrise begins to touch at the horizon, all the flames have been doused and left burning embers. Honshu was prepared to host a large group of people – and the tents that had been erected to host those wishing to stay longer quickly become packed with bodies as exhaustion draws most to sleep. O’rlen has yet to sleep when he approaches Aerishani, soot and sweat streaking his face and stray embers having burned holes in his wedding outfit. He still has no more words for her as he grabs her roughly and draws her into his embrace. He holds her tight and burrows his face in the shelter of her hair. Akemi has not left Zinovia’s side, helping her in the tasks of first aid and organizing the people who cannot help the fire effort. Aislara has gathered her weyrlings to the barracks and focused all her attention on keeping them – and their dragons’ – calm. Even as dawn continues to spread upwards, C’aol has not returned with his contingent of dragonriders. Rori’s face is drawn and white, her battle with Inaskashath drawing on all her reserves. “It was too cold for it to spread too far,” she acknowledges to anyone who may listen, shock making her jittery. “What if we didn’t have the late snowfall? Honshu could’ve been ruined.”

Over the course of the night and into the following morning, Amorenth gradually releases her hold on groups of dragons from other Weyrs, loosening her grip only once the names of dragons and riders are written down in Honshu’s records for later study. She may be of little use in terms of medical care, but Aerishani spends the hours that pass taking statements from wounded witnesses and liaising with the Headwoman and her staff to ensure that the inner workings of the Weyrhold continue on despite the chaos around them, refusing to take the breaks the Healers demand of her. They resort to a light dose of fellis in the end, knocking her out for a handful of hours while Zinovia continues on with the taking of statements, able to triage at the same time with Akemi’s assistance. By the time O’rlen makes it to the infirmary, it’s Aerishani who is awake and Amorenth who is out cold, her hide grey-tinged and mind spent from her efforts, yet even in her sleep her deep and unrelenting fury manages to permeate the space between the minds of Honshu’s dragons. Aerishani clasps O’rlen to her, Healers politely averting their gaze as she tucks her face into his neck and just holds on, Zinovia quietly slipping past with her hand in Akemi’s. “Home. Sleep,” she murmurs. “Tomorrow, we work out who did this to us.” Across the half-formed bowl, Arlet is still painfully awake and alert, tact cast completely aside as she approaches Rori and all but tackles her to her bed, for all the motion is a gentle and insistent one as she winds her arms around her middle and curls herself around her. “Enough,” she says softly. “They don’t need to hear this from a queenrider. You need to sleep.” And even if she doesn’t, she doesn’t let go, Akanyth watching this turn of events through hooded eyes. Either they’ll sleep or they won’t, but Arlet’s not giving in.

O’rlen’s tears mingle and streak his face as the weight of the day settles around him. Sleep claims him before he can express more of himself to Aerishani, there will be plenty of time for discussions about repairs as the days unfold around them. Akemi follows after Zinovia, silent as she always is, though Maozheth’s attention to Yukijiath gives the bluerider pause. “Zinovia–, I think,” she catches up to the greenrider and clasps her forearm, talking lowly about a glow that her blue is noticing on green hide. Rori has not been able to unwind from the day, her gold’s needs having taken all of her energy to master. Her entire body aches from the fatigue and tension, tears falling unchecked as she walks numbly towards her cot. Inaskashath has finally found sleep – pushed upon her by Amorenth before the queen succumbed to her own fatigue and slept. Rori is completely surprised by Arlet’s attention, her nerves too raw for her to do anything but follow where she’s taken. There’s comfort to be found against Arlet’s chest and Rori cries softly against the brownrider before she finds sleep. She’ll awake in the early morning light, still clinging to the brownrider, and loathe to leave the warmth offered there. As the dawn breaks over the new day, everyone will have to wake up and face the damage done. The ‘who’ of the attack won’t be as easily found, though accusations fling around over the first start on breakfast. “Fort.”

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